Interview with las/Mercury^Metalvotze^0ok

By Adok/Hugi

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I've been active in the demoscene since 2003, I've been in several groups, in 2004 I visited my first demoparty (Evoke 2004) - with rather big success ;) Since 2006 I've mainly been active in Mercury and Metalvotze. Age: 20. Occupation: Soon student ;)

Okay, then let's start right with this question: What do you want to study?

Oh no, who would have guessed that! Computer science. ;)

What field of computer science do you want to specialize in?

The first 4 semesters are more or less defined, basic study. But as soon as specialization is possible, I'd like to do computer graphics.

How did you start coding?

My neighbour, who is about 5 years older than me, made the mistake to give me 3 disks with Turbo Pascal. I was about 13-14 back then.

What kind of computer did you have back then?

Win95 - Pentium 166 MHz - S3Trio - 16MB RAM (or was it even 32?) and awesome 1,96 GB HDD. This was the first computer which we had at home and my parents restricted its use to 3h per day at first.

I first programmed very simple stuff, such as number guessing, prime number calculation... and a little outputting of graphics to the screen, which thence became more and more interesting :) Moving pixels!

How did you discover the demoscene?

If you're interested in graphics programming, you will sooner or later find out that you're not the only person with this interest. I believe I found demos from Blasphemy at a coding page. And thus my interest was more than just aroused ;) - I was fascinated.

What was your first group and how did you join it?

DBCDemo, via Red. There was a discussion in a coding board in which we decided that we wanted to do something together. With Red I'm still working together by the way ;) Red and I discovered that we had a common interest back then - 64k intros. So right from the beginning, it was all about a size limitation. DBCDemo released a couple of cracktros, which actually wasn't very interesting for me since there was no competition, and competition is the actual motivation for me. But among other things my first 4k intro was released under DBCDemo. It was Chernobee - my first Assembler project. It featured coder's colours and terrible beeping.

What was next?

Next came the 4k intro "Die Potenz", which was an attempt to reconstruct fr-08 a bit. While Chernobee was a release of DBCDemo and 0ok, "Die Potenz" was already 0ok only.

When was 0ok founded?

On August 5th, 2004. 0ok was founded by Bero and me before Evoke 2004. Bero had some unused domains back then, and one of them was That's how this group was founded. We made a lot of 4k's. In my opinion they were not too good, but not extremely bad either. IMHO "Die Potenz" was good, while every other 4k I made for 0ok was below the standard of "Die Potenz".

But you won a couple of compos - e.g. "SpaceSharks" was 1st at Buenzli 2005.

"SpaceSharks" had no competitors :) I still remember exactly the prize giving: the bar was growing and somebody shouted: "I KNOW WHO'S WINNING!"

At the end of 2006 I noticed that I hadn't released anything that year yet. So I made a 4k intro for tUM, "raptor" - it was the first Mercury release and made 1st place - boom :) (The 2nd placed intro at tUM wasn't bad either.)

When was Mercury founded?

Mercury was founded by Psykon and me a couple of month before tUM 06, to be exact on August 21st, 2006. The team partly consisted of some 0ok members. We simply liked the new name more.

What programming languages and tools do you use for developing your 4k intros?

T0A & T0AIDE (with realtime debugger), which was developed by Bero/0ok^fr, are used for the Assembler part (already since "Die Potenz"). I think I'm one of few coders who use T0A so much. For the tool part I usually use Delphi - that allows fast implementation. See the screenshots [1] ("Die Potenz" tool) and [2] (latest tool - VM based). For compression I use Crinkler. The latest tool allows me to press Ctrl + Q and lean back until Crinkler is done ;)

Have you ever worked on a scene-project different from a 4k intro?

I think I added some particle effects to a 64k - but it's not that worth mentioning ;) At the moment we're having some internal discussions in Mercury in what direction we will go now. I'm certain that a couple of 4k's will follow, but also larger projects are possible - 64k or maybe demo so that the "professional pixel pushers" can indulge themselves.

You're also a member of Metalvotze. How did you join that group? What projects have you participated in so far?

That's correct ;) - I simply wanted to join. Until now I've made a 4k intro "usbipr" and a 4k procedural gfx "acid".

What releases are you planning for the future?

At tUM 2007 there will most certainly be another 4k (perhaps even the last) in the *or series. Maybe there will also be something little for Function.

What are your favourite 4k intros except your own ones?

Micropolis, Candystall, ilm, Parsec, Polystreptikum, Stoerfall Ost and sprite-o-mat :)

What are your favourite demos and 64k intros?

There are lots of them. An overview is given by my coup de coeurs at pouet: heaven seven by Exceed, moralhardcandy by blasphemy, VARIFORM by Kewlers, Desert Dream by Resource and Chorus, Ultimatum to the World: First Days of the Last War by mfx. But there are a lot more releases which I enjoyed :)

What hobbies do you have apart from computers?

Pyrotechnics :) A bit of chemistry, a bit physics/electronics, "macgyvering" ;) But I don't have much time for these things any more ;)

Uh-oh, you got dangerous hobbies! :)

Hehe, of course ;)

But we shouldn't forget that Joschka Fischer, too, started with pyrotechnics and then became German minister for foreign affairs :)

But before that he dealt a lot with slingshot technology ;)

True. There's plenty of photographic documentation of this :) Maybe you'll also become a politician?

Rather improbable - I enjoy talking, but I don't enjoy lying in the face of the people with whom I talk.

If you ventured into politics with your background, you could make politicians aware of the demoscene :)

With bangers? :D

No, with your rhetoric persuasiveness.

I think that the demoscene is already getting enough attention at the moment.

That's true. Large media (such as Spiegel online, c't and so on) are also reporting pretty much about the demoscene. etc... I have mixed feelings about that. When I take a look at the comments I wonder whether we should choose a different target audience :) while on the other hand newcomers are important for the scene.

You mean comments such as "You shouldn't report about demos, but more about games"?

That's harmless. :) There are lots of comments from people who have heard about the scene for the first time and wonder what's the motivation behind it and why the hell this can be fun. You must ask yourself what benefit it has reporting about the scene to a certain audience and what harm one might do by this. I imagine that presenting the demoscene to a "classic artist" audience would bring a benefit to both sides. PR work is necessary in any case, primarily because of the sponsors which make many things such as Breakpoint possible in the first place.

One must not forget that the demoscene is an elite scene. In order to participate, you need good skills and artistic talent.

I have similar views about this. But it's actually not so difficult to reach a level that allows one to participate in the scene. Moreover, "elite" audience is also welcome ;) In my opinion, from its structure, the scene can no longer be simply considered an elite group of human beings. But there's something like a "family" atmosphere. Take a look at Metalvotze - they mock at the exaggerated "we are so elite" attitude of other groups ;) ("Genitalelite", "ihlaid")

In the old days beginners were oft dissed as "lamers" by older sceners and thus scared off. But nowadays I have the impression that beginners are shown what they have to learn in order to participate in the scene.

At pouet you can see really motivating comments on first prods from time to time. I think the scene has changed a bit. Real wars like in the cracking scene don't exist. That's good. It's a really time-consuming hobby, who would want trouble with like-minded people? That would be nonsense. I'm happy with what the scene is like now and I think it will continue like that for a long time :)

What do you think about covering game development in diskmags?

As long as the articles focus on technical aspects this makes sense as in games the same technology is used as in demos. By technical aspects I understand, for example, code/planning strategies. Planning and coordination are essential for larger projects.

I guess it could also contribute to making the demoscene more popular in the outer world. People out there would see what skills they could acquire in the demoscene.

Well, I don't really believe that you can simply visit the demoscene like a course to extend your knowledge ;)

What else would you like to tell our readers?

4k's are cool :D

Hehe, we know that :) Thank you for the interview!

Mercury greets you all!